Factbox-China pledges $138 billion in extra funding to shore up indebted property sector

By Thomson Reuters May 17, 2024 | 5:13 AM

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China on Friday announced “historic” steps to stabilise the crisis-hit property sector, with the central bank facilitating 1 trillion yuan ($138 billion) in extra funding, easing mortgage rules, and local governments set to buy “some” apartments.

Analysts viewed Beijing’s move to prop up the sector as positive but said the amount of facility offered to clear inventory was unlikely to make a big impact.

The following is a list of the government’s recent measures for the sector which accounts for roughly a fifth of the world’s second-largest economy.

May 17 – China’s Vice Premier He Lifeng told a meeting that municipal governments could buy unsold homes at “reasonable” prices and use them for affordable housing. He also said local governments could repurchase land sold to developers.

May 17 – China’s central bank said it will set up a 300 billion yuan relending loan facility to support local state-owned enterprises to purchase completed and unsold homes, and it expected the fund would drive bank lending of 500 billion yuan.

It also said it would issue an additional 500 billion yuan of pledged supplementary lending facility to support housing developments.

China’s central bank said separately it would cut down-payment ratios for first- and second-home buyers to no less than 15% and 25%, respectively. It would also abolish the floor level of the interest rates for mortgages for the first and second homes at the national level.

May 15 – Housing authority of Hangzhou’s Linan district says it will acquire a batch of apartments for public rental housing.

May – More than 50 cities have announced a “swap old for new” apartment scheme.

April-May – Chinese top-tier cities Beijing and Shenzhen relaxed some home purchase restrictions, second-tier cities including Chengdu and Hangzhou lifted all purchase restrictions.

Feb. 20 – China cut the five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 25 basis points, its biggest ever reduction in the rate.

Jan. 26 – China’s housing authorities rolled out the “project whitelist” mechanism, telling city governments they should provide a list of local property projects suitable for financing support, and coordinate with local financial institutions to meet the financing needs of these projects.

Sept. 14 – China’s central bank said it would cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves for the second time this year to boost liquidity.

Aug. 31 – China’s central bank and financial regulator eased some borrowing rules for homebuyers, including lowering existing mortgage rates for first-home buyers and the down payment ratio in some cities.

Aug. 30-Sept. 1 – Major Chinese cities said they will allow people to take preferential loans for first-home purchases regardless of their credit record.

Aug. 25 – Local governments were permitted to scrap a mortgage rule so that people who have bought a home but then sold it having repaid their mortgage, can get preferential loans as first-time homebuyers, according to state media Xinhua.

Aug. 25 – China’s cabinet approved guidelines for the planning and construction of affordable housing.

Aug. 21 – China cut its one-year benchmark lending rate.

July 24 – China’s top leaders held a Politburo meeting and omitted the phrase “housing for living, not for speculation” in the official readout.

July 21 – The cabinet approved guidelines on transforming “urban villages” or underdeveloped areas in megacities, which will help underpin property investment.

July 10 – China’s central bank extended until the end of 2024 some policies in a November rescue package to shore up the real estate sector.

June 20 – China’s central bank cut its key lending benchmarks, or loan prime rates (LPRs), for the first time in 10 months.

(Reporting by Liangping Gao in Beijing and Clare Jim in Hong Kong; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Susan Fenton)